🔵Essential to human DNA production
🔵Repairs and maintains healthy bones, nerves and muscles
Last August I was rushed to the Emergency Room and was placed in Intensive Care for a couple of nights. My stay was a result of magnesium deficiency.
I learned that it is dramatically under-diagnosed because it doesn’t show up on a blood test! Only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is stored in your blood, and the majority of it’s stored in your bones.
Some of the main health challenges that have been linked to a magnesium deficiency include:
1. Low energy. “Magnesium is involved in at least 300 different chemical reactions in our body, and a lot have to do with energy production,” functional medicine nutritionist Alison Boden says, “a sign of low magnesium can be low energy.”
2. Twitching or cramping. Because magnesium plays an important role in muscle relaxation, insufficient intake can result in unintended muscle movement. “Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction,” says Ancient Minerals.
3. Frequent headaches. Magnesium deficiency lowers serotonin levels, causes blood vessels to constrict and affects neurotransmitter function, all related to headaches — especially migraines. MigraineAgain estimates that 50% of migraine sufferers have a magnesium deficiency.
4. Insomnia. If you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep, it may be due to low levels of magnesium, particularly if you are experiencing a lot of stress.
Stress hormones increase blood pressure and heart rate; this is partly accomplished by depleting the body of its magnesium, explains Dr. Ronald Hoffman. If there isn’t enough magnesium available for the body to replenish itself, sleeping becomes a problem.
5. Irregular heartbeat. With low magnesium levels, the heart can have trouble staying in its regular rhythm. Lab Tests Online says that doctors will often prescribe magnesium supplements for patients who complain of an irregular heartbeat.
6. Increased sensitivity to noise. Not having enough magnesium curtails its role in stabilizing the nervous system, Hoffman says. This often results in hyperflexia, an enhanced startle reflex.
7. Seizures. Seizures can result when the nervous system is severely compromised due to lack of magnesium, reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
8. Low bone density. Magnesium plays a major role in bone formation, and the majority of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones. “People with higher intakes of magnesium have a higher bone mineral density,” says the NIH.
9. Constipation. Bowel movements often slow down without enough magnesium in the body. WebMD notes that magnesium is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.
10. High blood pressure. Magnesium is very important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure; a deficiency can definitely cause pressure to be too high. “Eating foods high in magnesium and other minerals can help prevent high blood pressure in people with prehypertension,” says WebMD.
11. Type 2 diabetes. Breaking down blood sugars is another of magnesium’s jobs in the human body.
“People with higher amounts of magnesium in their diets tend to have a lower risk of developing diabetes,” says the NIH. Research is ongoing to determine whether magnesium therapy can be used in diabetes treatment.
12. Depression, anxiety, confusion or personality changes. Low levels of magnesium in the brain can affect neurological functions that result in all sorts of problems. Studies have shown that some phobias — such as agoraphobia — have developed as a result of low magnesium levels, Dr. Hoffman says. Magnesium has long been used as an effective home remedy for these symptoms, says Psychology Today in an article titled “Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill.”
If you suspect that you may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency, it is advisable to confirm your suspicion with medical testing before taking supplements. Supplements are beneficial when needed, but they can cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea and they do have adverse interactions with some other medications and medical conditions.
Typically, the foods you’ll find that are highest in magnesium are green leafy vegetables, which are packed with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is known as the “life blood” of a plant and has the ability to absorb the sun’s light and turn it into energy.
One major difference between human blood and chlorophyll is that human blood has iron at the center of the cell, but plants have magnesium at the center of the cell.
Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods
Green leafy vegetables aren’t the only foods rich in magnesium and chlorophyll. Here are the top 10 foods high in magnesium that you will want to add into your diet.
(Men RDA 400 milligrams and Women RDA 310 milligrams a day)
Spinach — 1 cup: 157 milligrams (40% DV)
Chard — 1 cup: 154 milligrams (38% DV)
Pumpkin seeds — 1/8 cup: 92 milligrams (23% DV)
Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup: 50 milligrams (13% DV)
Almonds — 1 ounce: 80 milligrams (20% DV)
Black Beans — ½ cup: 60 milligrams (15% DV)
Avocado — 1 medium: 58 milligrams (15% DV)
Figs — ½ cup: 50 milligrams (13% DV)
Dark Chocolate — 1 square: 95 milligrams (24% DV)
Banana — 1 medium: 32 milligrams (8% DV)
Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.
The Most Common Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
Most common causes of magnesium deficiency include:
Consuming less than three servings of vegetables per day
Excess alcohol consumption
A diet high in sugar and phytic acid
Taking prescription medications like antibiotics and diuretics
Poor digestive absorption due to leaky gut